Dried Chilies - Help Needed!
I LOVE very spicy food. So, when I was at Cost Plus and saw new dried chiles, I couldn't help myself.
But now I'm not sure what to do with them and whether the flavor will sync with the things I usually make (asian/thai stir frys and mexican food). Or - do I need to find regional recipes to best use the chiles? Please help if you know!
1. Birdseye Chilies - Super Hot - Product of Africa. Are these really hot? What are they good in?
2. Guajillo Chilies - Hot - Product of Mexico. Same questions.
3. Thai Chilies - Hot - Product of Thailand. I assume I just rehydrate these chiles and use them liek regular. I know to keep the seeds in to make it more spicy. Any other suggestions?
The guajillo chiles are common in many mexican dishes. I don't usually purchase the chiles on their own, but for use as a component in a dish. Guajillos are called for in my chili recipe and also for use in some salsas. You toast them on a griddle (be careful not to scorch them as they will become bitter), then seed and stem them, tear them up and put them in a blender with enough hot water to just cover. Let them sit in the hot water until softened, and puree them in the water. You will end up with a chile paste/sauce that you can use in other dishes.
I mainly put whole dried chilies into my chili these days, I might crush them before doing this to release the seeds. The hard outer skin makes chopping before adddition problematic. I think it's possible to soften them in hot water and scrape off the inner flesh and seeds for sauces etc... but this is also too much trouble IMO.
I use guajillo in my chili. It has a spiciness that hits in the back of the throat after a few seconds, not that upfront heat of other chiles.
Birdseye and Thai chiles I've used as is in stir-fries, or ground as a seasoning in some dishes. And oh yah, those birdseyes are HOT. I linked to the Scoville scale below so you get an idea (ex. Guajillos 2,500-5,000; Birdseye 100,000 to 225,000). Guajillos I use the same way DanaB mentions, although I stem and seed mine before I toast them, and let them soften whole in hot water for about 20 minutes before pureeing. Or when I make beans, I'll throw a couple guajillos (seeded and stemmed) in the pot. The skin separates and you can remove it easily, and the flesh 'melts' into the beans for terrific flavor.
Scoville Heat Index: